Brian Deese Reacts to the Citizen’s Briefing Book

Brian Deese Reacts to the Citizen’s Briefing Book


Hi, I am Brian Deese, I am a member of the economic policy team for the Obama transition team, and I am going through a couple of the submissions that we have received as part of the Citizens Briefing Book series. One of the suggestions that we have received online is to expand small business innovation programs. You know insuring that we have an innovative and thriving small business sector is vital to our economy. Small businesses create over two thirds of the jobs in our economy and right now they are really hurting. We have a credit crisis that has made loans unavailable to even good small businesses that have done nothing wrong and are simply being hit as victims in this crisis. So, what we want to do is to focus, first , on making sure that small businesses around the country can access the credit that they need to pay their employees, to finance their inventory and continue to create jobs and help get us out of this economic crisis. But going forward, we want to look for new opportunities to help small businesses in the small business sector continue to drive innovation in this country, because the commentators are absolutely right: figuring out ways to help small businesses pursue new cutting edge areas of our economy in clean energy, health care technologies, is going to be the key to making sure that we continue to have good middle class job growth in this country. Another one that we have received was to talk about rolling back a portion of the tax cuts that the highest income earners have received over the past several years. President Elect Obama has been committed to the notion that we need to restore fairness to the tax code. Right now we are in the middle of an economic emergency and now is the time to move boldly on a package of tax cuts and investments that will get our economy going again and make a down payment on the economy as we are going forward. But the President Elect has been very clear, that as we move forward some of those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans are going to have to go. We are going to need to ask everybody to play a part in restoring our economy and changing our economic focus and part of that does mean rolling back a portion of those tax cuts. But what is really important is what we are going to do with the revenues that the government takes in. We need that revenue to invest in areas like clean energy, health care, in repairing our crumbling infrastructure and providing tax breaks for middle class families that have been struggling in this economy. Those are the focuses that the President Elect has been talking about and that’s going to be our focus as we move into the Administration. A third comment that we have received is a suggestion that we commit to become the greenest country in the world. One of the things that we have been looking at in the context of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is how can we, the Federal Government, set an example and help move toward a clean energy future by making the government itself more energy efficient and use more clean energy. So, take the example of federal buildings. We have a huge amount of property that is actually owned by the federal government, a lot of it was built a long time ago and does not use energy as efficiently as it can. The President Elect is committed to renovate, modernize and upgrade more than seventy five percent of federal building space in the country in the next several years as part of the recovery plan. Now, it will not only create jobs and save energy, but it will save taxpayer dollars, more than two billion dollars per year. That is the kind of idea we are excited about moving as part of this recovery package and there are other good ideas about making government green and about helping make our economy green going forward that we are going to be looking for from all of you as well. It has been a real pleasure to get to read through some of the comments that you all have submitted in the Citizens Briefing Book . I encourage you to continue doing it. Continue sending your ideas. Go to change.gov and use the Citizens Briefing Book and other tools online to communicate with us. We want to continue this dialogue with you going forward. We hope that you will continue to participate.

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